By Isabella Futchi
In its ninth year, Downtown Youngstown was filled with fun activities and families for the OH WOW! children’s museum’s “Silly Science Sunday” Sept. 15.
Most of Federal Street and the downtown circle was blocked off so children and their families could play safely.
Youngstown State University science, technology, engineering and mathematics students and OH WOW! employees and volunteers facilitated activity and learning events for all ages in the field of STEM.
Children played with robots, learned about the history of STEM in Youngstown from the historical center and even went inside the museum to enjoy intriguing games and interesting contraptions.
Most of the action was placed in front of OH WOW!, where kids and their families could learn about science or just play.
Numerous information tents, food vendors and musical acts were there to add to the day of fun and education.
Nancy Nagy, a mother who was walking her youngest child around the festivities, said she came to “Silly Science Sunday” for a mixture of science-related activities and because it was an open event for all ages.
She said she thought her 3-year-old daughter would enjoy the event.
“It’s hard to pay for things when you don’t know how the kids are gonna react,” she said. “If you come to a free event, kids can just do what they wanna do and you can leave when they are ready to go.”
Suzanne Barbati, president and executive director of OH WOW!, said “Silly Science Sunday” is a way for children to learn about STEM, and it helps them identify what they like and do not like.
“[“Silly Science Sunday”] promotes STEM activities … [and] gives them some ideas about what they can do in the future and help them start thinking about their future,” she said.
Howard Hale, president of the Society of Physics Students and senior physics and astronomy major, said STEM is important in children’s lives because it is foundational and involves critical thinking skills.
“It’s good to encourage children to get into the mindset so that they can critically think because STEM is a lot of critical thinking and the scientific process [is used] to solve real-world problems,” he said.
Hale and the Society of Physics students volunteered to promote physics and sciences under the YSU STEM tent.
Barbati said the museum has charged for the event in the past, but it was able to make it free through event sponsors so all ages could enjoy.
“We really wanted it to be available to everybody,” she said.